My social media feeds are full of people making resolutions for the new year. They all want to eat less, exercise more, find love, be happy etc. But can a simple resolution, a firm decision to do or not do something, accomplish those things? Millions of people make resolutions each new year and are viewing it as a chance to wipe the slate clean so to speak. Start fresh with the flip of a calendar page. I’ve never understood how the date can make people suddenly want to start making a bunch of changes and living life to the fullest. And every year the complaints are the same too.
“Goodbye 2015, you were a jerk and I hope you die.”
“Bring on 2016 when I will get married, have kids and win the lottery!” (No pressure 2016.)
I don’t really make any resolutions. But last year Chris and I did challenge ourselves to drink champagne every Friday in 2015 to make sure we always take a moment to celebrate how great life is. I don’t think that’s technically a resolution as much as it is openly celebrating our drinking problem. However we did follow through with that goal and had at least one, sometimes more, sips of champagne every Friday. It was a constant weekly reminder of how lucky we are to be alive and give a nod to our blessings. Sounds super corny I know but it was an amazing experience and I’m glad we did it. So corny be damned!
Now I’m faced with a new year, which I’m sure will speed by as quickly as this last year did. I feel like I blinked and it was Christmas again. And I’m wondering, should I try making a new years resolution? It’s not like it’s going to hurt anything right? Apparently 45% of Americans make resolutions, but only 8% of those have success. Yikes! What’s happening there? Do we just forget about them as the year passes? Or are our resolutions too generic (lose weight, get organized, save money)? Or maybe we get caught up in the romanticized aspect of the new year and make a bunch of claims then forget about them when real life sets in.
Food for thought time. Resolutions go back thousands of years and are founded in some religious principles. The earliest recorded new year celebration can be traced back 4,000 years to ancient Babylonian times. This type of celebration centered around the vernal equinox in March and not Christmas, where the Babylonians would make promises to the gods in the hopes they would earn favor. Eventually the Roman calendar was put in place and January 1st became New Year’s Day.
“Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus (Roman god of beginnings), exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significance, such as December 25 (the anniversary of Jesus’ birth) and March 25 (the Feast of the Annunciation); Pope Gregory XIII reestablished January 1 as New Year’s Day in 1582.”
And over thousands of years the resolution has evolved into making promises to ourselves to get healthy, get out of debt, be kind, do less drugs, do more drugs…whatever your heart desires. Yet even with this history trip down memory lane I’m still not convinced I need to make an official new year’s resolution. It feels antiquated and idealistic and I don’t believe (unless there’s booze involved) that I would follow through.
Is anyone else making new year’s resolutions? How do you plan to stick to it? Would you like reminders from MIH throughout the year about what you said you would do? I’m not going to do that. But I’d still love to hear from you. Convince me why I should make a new year’s resolution!